(not so) Breaking News: Disney released a new MagicBand color! Millennial pink – an absolutely stunning pastel pink. My reaction? “I need this. I need this. I neeeeed this!” I am a total girly-girl & love all the fun things like hairbows and makeup and what my niece calls spinny dresses. Being the generous person I am, when I saw this I immediately shared it to Facebook so all my friends could be girly-girls with me… and then one friend asked “so what is it?” GASP!
Well… what is a MagicBand? The short answer: everything! The longer answer: your MagicBand is your room key, your park ticket, your FastPass+ ticket, your PhotoPass link, your method of payment… it really does do just about everything!
How do you get one of these amazing accessories? Well, MagicBands are available online at the Disney Store website and the Shop Disney Parks app, and they can be found at stores throughout WDW. Prices start at $12.99 for solid colors and go up when you get into the patterns and designs. There is a Dooney & Bourke limited release MagicBand for sale for $48.00 right now! MagicBands are reusable, although eventually they can die, and once they are linked to your My Disney Experience account they are interchangeable. I bring all of my MBs on each trip, and change up which one I wear based on my outfit for the day!
You are always free to buy extra MagicBands, but if you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel or have an Annual Pass* you will receive a complimentary MB! I do so love complimentary… Simply log into My Disney Experience and, after you’ve linked your hotel reservation or Annual Pass, click on “MagicBands and Cards” to customize.
If you fly into Orlando International and take the Magical Express to your hotel, you’ll get to use your MagicBand before you even make it to Disney (so make sure you don’t pack it in your checked luggage)! When you get to the Magical Express check-in simply scan your band and the Cast Member will be able to see your reservation and will direct you to the correct line. If you take other transportation to your hotel, you’ll still get to use your MagicBand to enter the room. Simply tap the Mickey head on your band to the Mickey head on the electronic lock, and voila! I’ve done this countless times and still get a little thrill each time. Yes, I’m a little crazy. No, I can’t help it.
You do the same thing to enter the parks. You’ll tap your band to the reader at the entrance gate then scan your fingerprint, and when the light turns green you’re good to go (fun fact: DVC members get extra lights and sounds when they enter the parks)! Within the park, you’ll see the same little readers at many of the attractions – this is for FastPass+. Again, tap Mickey head to Mickey head (assuming you’re in your FP+ window) and wait for the light to turn green, then you’re all ready to ride!
Whenever a Disney PhotoPass Cast Member takes your picture, you’ll be asked to tap your band to a reader the Cast Member carries. Photos don’t always show up immediately, but in general they do show up online fairly quickly. You can either go to the Disney PhotoPass website, or (my preference) log into the MDE app and see your pictures there.
And finally, you can use your MagicBands to pay for things. If you have Dining Plan you’ll scan your band at every meal (if you’re with the rest of your party only one person on the plan needs to scan – I think sometimes there’s a subtle competition among us to be the one to get scanned) whether you’re eating at a Quick Service or a Table Service. But if you don’t have Dining Plan you can still scan your band and charge your meal to your room. You can do the same with merchandise** in the parks. Simply scan and go! You can also set restrictions on purchases so your children don’t sneak off and buy that $40 jumbo plush Stitch… not that Big J ever tried to do that or anything…
*it is important to note that you will not be sent your AP MB until after your first visit! Personally I think this is a crazy flaw in the system, but unfortunately Disney doesn’t ask my opinion on such things.
**you should also note that while your Annual Pass will be linked to your band to let you in the park, you will still need the physical card as well as your photo ID to get your AP discount. That isn’t a big deal for me because I actually prefer to pay for my goodies with my gift cards, because I get such a happy using them.